Awful but rot stopping

Charlton were pretty dreadful again today making even Oldham looking like promotion contenders in the second half. I know there is a lot of uncertainty around the club, but perhaps we need a Lennie Lawrence or a Curbs back who had to deal with lots more than Karl off the pitch and just got on with it.

I really struggle to understand what role Ricky Holmes has, don’t get me wrong he is an excellent player , but he’s a bloody winger – leave him on the wing, don’t let him wander all over the place. We brought Mavadidi on, who scored an excellent goal, but he basically contributed nothing else because he was stuck out wide whilst Holmes was pushed up alongside Magennis. Tactically, we look clueless even against Oldham. I like Karl, but I am starting to wonder.

Peter Varney has stepped down from Ebbsfleet tonight. I understand that there is no love lost between Richard Murray and Peter but they are both proper Charlton fans who love the club and it would be fantastic to see a properly funded club with Peter back as CEO. Let us hope that’s a possibility – if so , maybe Chris Powell is currently searching for his tracksuit.

Deadline for Takeover

Unless the takeover is completed by around the 19th to 22nd of January, its not likely to happen until the end of the season at the earliest.

Any new owner will want to have the ability to shape this season with some new signings in the remainder of the January window and any later than the 22nd for completion would not really leave enough time to get deals done. Also, it is unlikely that any new owner would want to take on the monthly losses of c £500k between now and June, when they can’t do anything to influence the results.

Noone at the club seems to have any idea atall about the progress of discussions to date, It seems to be completely chaotic with a couple of potential bidders, maybe even 3. There has been much talk about bidders conducting due diligence, but quite why it seems to be taking so long is a mystery. Charlton is a small business and not really that complex so DD would be a relatively short exercise. It must really be arguing about the price and questioning the bidders ability to make the transaction happen.

If the deal doesn’t get done by the 22nd, in all likelihood this season is a write off unless Stephy Mavididi turns out to be the next Thierry Henry.

 

Mavididi not the answer

You’ve got to feel for Karl Robinson – we might not like his obsessive one man up front tactical formation but It was always going to be impossible for him to be successful this season with one experienced forward.

Luckily I missed the game today but I spent the entire 90 mins logged in to the twitter feeds. After the Wigan performance I was feeling optimistic today before the game but as soon as I saw the team sheet I told the wife we would lose –  Reeves and JFC together in the middle is too lightweight for this division –  Aribo is stronger, more physical and should have started along with KAG. They both played well at Wigan. Lennon and Sarr were superb at Wigan and despite today as soon as we have Pearce and Baeur back too we are well served in that area – the real problem is up front where we don’t have a single striker who can hit a cows arse with a banjo.

Poor Karl knows that Mavididi is not really the answer – his record is – wait for it – Arsenal -zero goals – Charlton – zero goals – Preston – zero goals.

Im sure he is a good player and let’s hope that more game time and the midfield support at Charlton will help but let’s be honest he’s not really the answer is he ? The suggestion that his signing is going to excite the supporters is really both naive and a bit insulting.

Unless somehow, the Board allows Robinson to sign a proper experienced goal scorer like an Eoin Doyle or a Billy Boden or a Billy Sharp or Yann or similar, the season is toast and we are going to spend it trying to scrape enough points to avoid relegation to the 4th division.

Finally the appointment of Katrien Meire as CEO at Sheffield Wednesday is nothing short of astonishing. You have to marvel at the lack of proper reference checking that must have gone on. In Private Equity where I work we undertake exhaustive and forensic reference checking on prospective CEO ‘s including questioning colleagues , ex colleagues , customers and above all detailed analysis of financial and commercial success. It is inconceivable that Sheffield Weds did anything other than a call to Roland and possibly to Richard. Alienating and losing over 40% of your core customer base through sheer incompetence , rudeness and ineptitude wouldn’t feature highly on my list of desirable characteristics for any CEO I employ – maybe football is different ??

 

5 pints for £11.80

What a great night we had at Wigan. The whole team put a heroic shift in with a particular shout out for Harry Lennon who was outstanding and showed just what we have missed. He also gave Naby Sarr and Ezri Konsa the opportunity to show how good they can be when playing in the right positions and with the proper physical support that he provides. Let us hope for his sake and ours that he remains fit for the rest of the season. The defence will stop leaking goals. All we need then is to find a striker from somewhere who can score some goals and we will move up the table again. A potential takeover cannot come quickly enough to get the full benefit of the January transfer window.

I’d slightly forgotten what fun away games up north can be. Although it was a bloody long drive there and back, the banter was great, the result was good, the locals were very friendly and above all in the after match pub in Leigh, 2 pints of Guinness and 3 Pints of Bombardier for £11.80. I stood gawping and disbelieving offering more money as the girl behind the bar repeated it – £11.80 – bloody fantastic.

I’m off to scour the fixtures for another trip to the dark North – I need to take the opportunity while I can because maybe we won’t get to Bury or Rochdale again for a few years ( hopefully) !!

 

Dancing in the Streets

Finally , finally some good news from Charlton – probably the most poorly suited, incompetent, inept and divisive CEO in the history of football and certainly in the last 50 years at CAFC has resigned.

Good luck to Katrien in whatever she does next – hopefully a key managerial role at Crystal Palace awaits

Spineless Charlton

When I was a kid and pretty much in the 50 years since I was told that you built a football team with strength down the spine, so your key players are a decent keeper ,two uncompromising centre halves, a tough ball winning centre mid and a strong competitive goal scoring centre forward – then what you do is build the rest of the team around that. For example, look at our team that Chris Powell built last time , Hamer – Taylor, Morrison ( Cort)- Hollands ( Stephens) – Kermit ( BWP).

Amos is OK and just maybe a combination of Pearce, Bauer and Lennon ( hugely underrated by the fans) works but to be honest the midfield and forwards just don’t cut it. Admittedly we’ve got some decent players, Da Silva, Holmes, Fosu, Solly, Konsa and Aribo are all OK , but they don’t really form the spine – although Aribo shows promise and Robinson should have played him earlier.

Robinson has been hugely disadvantaged by the loss of Pearce, Bauer and Lennon because at this level you don’t want ball playing centre halves like Sarr and Konsa you want no nonsense body on the line , attack the headers, scare the centre forward, take one for the team men. Pearce and Lennon are proper 3rd division centre halves.

It is difficult to see how this team can be successful because the spine is too weak and the team is unbalanced . To be fair to Robinson it would always be impossible to get promoted from any league in the world with only one striker and to be frank he’s not really a goal scorer.

In order to win any more games in this division this season we will need 2 of those centre halves fit again and we will need to buy at least one goal scoring centre forward and hope that Aribo keeps progressing.

I will be travelling to Wigan in hope but with an increasing sense of foreboding.

Would you fancy Greenwich Peninsula ?

The revelations in court that the previous regime of Jiminez, Slater and Cash were trying to sell the club on the basis of a potential Stadium move to the Greenwich Peninsula were already known to me. Nevertheless, the 69 page court judgement against Jiminez and Cash makes fascinating reading. Effectively, they were running around borrowing money from various sources to keep the club afloat until they could sell the club and the sweetener that they were offering to all interested parties was the prospect of a share in the potential £800m profit from a £2bn redevelopment of Greenwich Peninsula to include a new 40,000 all seater stadium for CAFC.

One of the observations from the court documents is that by contrast, Roland seems to be a straightforward and honest individual, if a little naive. The last 5 years are littered with ‘if onlys’ but what a shame he didn’t appoint an experienced CEO and Football Manager who knew what they were doing from Day 1 – surely to heaven – anyone with a quarter of a football brain would have stopped the needless sale of our best player, Yann, and then built a promotion team around him. Richard Murray has something to answer here because he watches the team every week and as a fan he must have known like us that Yann was irreplaceable- the whole point of being Chairman is that you use your experience to stop the Board from making terrible decisions. This one decision alone is probably the most damaging one made at Charlton in the last 10 years.

As for a move to Greenwich Peninsula , well why not ??  I’d be up for it – I’m not wedded to The Valley – let’s be honest , we’ve had hardly any success there in the last 100 years, so maybe a Stadium move would herald a new dawn. An all seater state of the art 40,000 seater Stadium with a team to match, playing in Red & White and called Charlton Athletic FC – where do I sign and how many season tickets can I have ??

Do the barriers to development render the project untenable ? – well I don’t know and I defer to Rick Everitt’s more forensic analysis in the excellent Voice of the Valley but Slater and Jiminez managed to get Blackstone – who are the world’s 5th largest private equity business – to send a team over from New York to investigate – so they must have thought that the project could have merit.

Battersea power station stood empty for decades before all the difficulties and objections were overcome – why not Greenwich Peninsula?  What we need is a new owner with deep pockets , imagination and a long term plan to make it happen and I really hope I’m still around for the first game!!!